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review 2019-02-16 02:30
Zoey & Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows
Dragons and Marshmallows - Asia Citro,Marion Lindsay

Audience: Grades 1-5

Format: Hardcover - Library Copy



"What is it, Sassafras?" I crouched down and ruffled my cat's fluffy fur.

- first sentence



This book is a fabulous early chapter book. Zoey and her cat Sassafras both love bugs and science and when Zoey discovers that her mom secretly takes care of magical creatures, she is eager to help. Zoey, a budding scientist, wears her thinking goggles on her head when she needs to concentrate. And when she finds a baby dragon, she uses the scientific method to determine how to help him.


So, not only is this book fun, but it also explains the scientific method (including a glossary at the end). It is much more meaningful than I thought it would be. With a strong female lead who happens to be African American, and all the science thrown in, it goes above and beyond what you expect from an early chapter book. The entire series is a must-have for any elementary library collection.


Highly recommended.


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text 2019-02-16 01:31
Alien series from Audible Originals
Alien: Out of the Shadows - Tim Lebbon
Alien: River of Pain - Christopher Golden
Alien - Sea of Sorrows - James A. Moore


Out of the Shadows - 

I really enjoyed this performance; the story, characters, sound effects, and music all came together perfectly. I felt like I was listening to a movie. The atmosphere is amazingly scary and claustrophobic. And as others have said, the woman who voiced Ripley was perfect. I liked how they created a brand new story that took place between Alien and Aliens (the movies) and I liked the explanation for it. Overall a very entertaining listen that will be fun for any fans of the Alien universe.


River of Pain - 

The overall production of this one was great with the same claustrophobic, scary atmosphere as the first. But I didn't love the story or the characters as much.  Still entertaining, but just not as original or interesting. 


Sea of Sorrows - 

This was my least favorite of the three. I just didn't buy the distant descendant of Ripley having a psychic connection to the xenomorphs. I also didn't like any of the characters. I didn't connect with any of them and found myself waiting for them to die.


All that being said, I flew through these books. I found myself always wanting to listen to them, even though they are all basically the same formula:


- Humans go where they shouldn't or mess with things beyond their understanding

- The humans are somehow connected to Weyland-Yutani (which is greedy for money, power, or both, without regard for human life)

- An android works against the humans in service of Weyland-Yutani or in rare cases helps them

- The xenomorphs come and the humans underestimate them

- There is a lone survivor (or maybe a select few)


Anyway, if you are a fan of the Alien movies, these stories are a fun revisit to the universe - and might make you want to watch all the movies again (like I did last weekend).

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review 2019-02-15 19:45
Review: Children of Blood and Bone
Children of Blood and Bone: The OrÏsha Legacy (Children of OrÏsha) - Tomi Adeyemi

It's taken me almost two days to review this as I finished it in the wee hours of barely February 14th.


People have been raving about this book so much, and the description hit on so many things I love, I was dying to read it.  An audiobook copy finally became available from the library and I let is sit in my queue until I had only 5 days before it had to be returned.  I said to hell with everything else eating up my time and attention and knew on 1.75 speed I could knock it out in no time.


Let me preface this by saying the book was great.  The characters were interesting and diverse, the plot was interesting, the pacing was good.  Over all the writing was very good.  So why is there clearly a but coming?


But, it wasn't awesome.  Perhaps the hype and buildup gave me certain expectations.  I thought I would lose myself in this story.  I did not.  It did not pull me in or resonate with me at all.  I wanted this to be the best thing I read all year, I'm afraid that will not be the case.   I suppose it's my own fault.  I wanted too much, to adore this book.  I only liked it.  


I agonized over this review because I didn't want my thoughts to bias anyone else.  It was a good book, it just didn't hit me the way I wanted it too.

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review 2019-02-15 17:37
About A Boy and A Girl And How Thin The Plot Is...
All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

We have read this before in the newspapers. We heard it from other people. Its a subject of taboo that we do not want to talk about... suicide. There are many reasons that leads to such a choice and its commonly known and read how suicides among teens do happened, of their own private reasons. I had read one such book before reading All the Bright Places, which to me... I wonder then when I first bought it few years back many readers gave good ratings. Of course, not every one gave it that high... and I am one of them.


I had issues with this book from the beginning. I had a few more some where in the middle. It was not until I am reading towards the end, I realize this is a story not about Theodore Finch - its about Violet Markey and how they met that one change another's life forever. How Violet copes with lost, and how Finch manage to help her with it. Still, there is some thing I did not like from the beginning. It was superficial, it wasn't realistic and it tries hard to make a realization of the main theme. I had mixed feelings as I read and towards the middle, I never care about the characters any more. I just do not know what I should really care about as I go along. It was until the 3rd act that I had guessed where its headed and how this heading feels... too thin. Every thing is just surface. There's nothing deeper to it and that gave me a reason to push forward to end my reading quick.


I can't say its horrible at all, as its not really that bad too. On the one hand, its pretty much straight path. Although trying to keep me guessing (even for other readers), the closure for this was bittersweet. What spoils it was the beginning and middle. I do understand what Jennifer Niven is pointing out and on her notes, its through her experience. Still, it suffers a lot in some ways I just felt what's holding my reading was if I bother to finish it and I did.


Overall - I felt a 3.5 out of 5 is a given. It would have been better if the characters are explored and the reasons are properly executed or laid out. What suffers it is what I said from above.

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text 2019-02-15 09:00
Friday Reads - February 15, 2019
The Preacher's Promise - Piper Huguley
What Lies Behind Us (The World War 2 Sisters Book 1) - Sierra Rose
The Genius of Birds - Jennifer Ackerman

It's the middle of the month and my reading has slowed down due to real life. My daughter turned 6, we went to see Alien Ant Farm and P.O.D. at a free concert on base (thank you USO/Armed Forces Entertainment!), my husband put the paperwork in for his last re-enlistment (5 more years!), and Valentine's Day added into the normal week has me exhausted. 


I still have to finish last week's short book pick The Preacher's Promise and my short book for this week is What Lies Behind Us. I am still in chapter 3 of The Genius of Birds for my science reading - it's interesting content delivered via ASMIR (and I am reading the print version). So I hope to get something done by the end the holiday weekend (made longer by a no school day today), but I am not getting my hopes up too high.


I hope you had a good Valentine's Day and for my fellow Americans, have a good Presidents' Day weekend. My son turns 8 on Monday, so I am going back into birthday mode. May your reading be all 5 stars!



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